Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Robert Lee McDaniel III, 53, active in community

Contractor started own company, funded scholarships

By Rebecca Goodman
Enquirer staff writer

CLIFTON - Entrepreneur Robert Lee "Bob" McDaniel III was invited to the White House twice during the Clinton administration. In 1993, he accompanied then-Mayor Dwight Tillery to a breakfast with members of an economic stimulus conference. And in 1994 he was invited by President and Mrs. Clinton to a welcome ceremony for South African President Nelson Mandela.

"Dad was so excited," said his son, Anthony McDaniel of Fairfield. Mr. McDaniel was as giddy as a boy at the prospect of meeting Clinton and seeing Mandela, he said.

Mr. McDaniel, chief executive of the RLM Group - a construction company - died Friday at Deaconess Hospital of complications from a stroke. The Clifton resident was 53.

He was a general contractor who specialized in sheet-metal work and heating, ventilating and air-conditioning service. His clients included Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati Bell, Messer and Turner construction companies, the University of Cincinnati and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

He was eager to give back and to help others find the success his hard work netted him. "He cared about others," his son said. "He shared. He could be counted on."

Mr. McDaniel was a participant in Tillery's Small Business Task Force, the Cincinnati Minority Supplier Development Council and the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce CEO Round Table.

He was also active in many organizations, including the Black Male Coalition, the National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and Boy Scouts of America.

He was vice president of the Southern Ohio Association of Minority Contractors and a member of the boards of Talbert House, Allied Construction Industries, People Working Cooperatively, Downtown Cincinnati Inc., the Equal Business Opportunity Program, the Urban Missionaries and the city's contract compliance appeals board.

He also served on the advisory board of the Blue Chip Opportunity Fund.

A 1969 graduate of Withrow High School, Mr. McDaniel entered a sheet-metal apprenticeship program through Sheet Metal Workers Local 141. He started his own business in 1978 and later taught his trade at Cincinnati Technical College (now Cincinnati State and Technical College) and for the Local 141 program.

He set up and endowed scholarships at Withrow High School and Woodlawn Elementary School as well as for several other organizations.

Withrow inducted him into its hall of fame in 1990. The University of Cincinnati presented him its Minority Contractor of the Year Award in 1991. Tillery gave Mr. McDaniel a key to the city of Cincinnati in 1993.

His last job was helping with the construction of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Besides his son, survivors include his wife of 35 years, Gloria Jean Hampton McDaniel; his parents, Robert L. McDaniel Jr. and Pauline McDaniel of Evanston; two daughters, Tonya L. McDaniel of Clifton and Tina Y. Cosby of Pleasant Run; two brothers, John E. McDaniel of Walnut Hills and Michael McDaniel of Springfield Township; a sister, Joyce Hawkins of Forest Park; and four grandchildren.

Visitation is 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday followed by the service at Metropolitan CME Church, 2815 Melrose Ave., Walnut Hills. Interment will be at Spring Grove Cemetery.

Memorials can be made to the Robert L. McDaniel III Memorial Fund at any Provident Bank, to help fund the scholarships he started.

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